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Atlanta Skeptics Message Board › More on Big Foot

More on Big Foot

Gary S.
user 55189802
Lawrenceville, GA
Post #: 3
A friend of mine sent this to me in an email:
[My comment: Check out the web site, it is a good laugh. The picture right at the top is my friend who sent me this email. -gary]
There is some excitement in the world of "Bigfoot Research". A woman in Texas who runs a private forensic laboratory claims to have DNA evidence confirming the existence of an "unknown North American hominid species". The study was submitted to and rejected by standard scientific journals, so a new journal was created de novo, and this article was published as the only article in Volume 1 Issue 1. Naturally I'm interested in reading it, but I am unwilling to pay $30 for the privilege.

A friend of mine is interested in this stuff, and found this website. Scroll down a bit for a surprise!


Better do it fast, because I sent the following letter to the proprietor of the site:

Dear Shawn:

I am a biologist with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Specifically, I am a geneticist working at the USFWS Forensics Laboratory, where my primary field of expertise is the use of DNA analysis to determine the species origin of unknown wildlife samples.

I recently came across your website at the URL­re-to-get-your-hands-on-ketchum.html

You can imagine my surprise when I found my photograph prominently featured in an article about the purported identification of DNA from a “previously unknown North American hominid”.

The photograph is not referred to in the accompanying text, nor is any identification or source given. Its use in this manner is inappropriate. The picture is evidently included in order to provide some spurious visual suggestion that the article enjoys support from the scientific community. It does not. I note that the study referred to was rejected by scientific journals based on its own lack of merit, and was subsequently published in a newly-created “vanity” journal.

The photo in question is property of the USFWS and may not be used without permission; if permission has been obtained, proper acknowledgement, identification and attribution should be given. These are minimum standards of journalism and of serious scholarship. The photo should therefore be removed from your website immediately.

I expect an acknowledgement of this fact to appear on your site. I suggest the following wording as a template:

“The photograph previously accompanying this article, showing a scientist wearing a white lab coat, has been removed. The person depicted had no part in either the article or in the study described in the article. The photograph is the property of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)and was used on this site without permission or acknowledgement. The USFWS does not support, endorse, encourage or recognize this website.”

Alternatively, you have my permission to post this letter on your site, providing that my name and affiliation are redacted, and that it is reproduced otherwise unedited.

I am aware that our knowledge of biodiversity is incomplete, and that there surely are many undescribed species inhabiting even well-studied environments. I encourage and support the field of “cryptobiology.” But I regard the field of “bigfoot research” to be a mixture of sincere wishful thinking, bad science, confirmation bias, sensationalism and deliberate pranking. I don’t wish to have my professional reputation associated with this sort of activity.

Also, in a final irony, the activity depicted in the photograph has nothing whatever to do with DNA analysis.

Gary S.
user 55189802
Lawrenceville, GA
Post #: 4
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